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April 16, 2007 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Borseth
ready to start
new chapter

SPORTSMONDAY

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 3B

New associate 'Sweet' for Blue

By CHRIS HERRING
Daily Sports Writer
The Michiganwomen'sbasketball
team was all smiles as it looked on at
newly hired coach Kevin Borseth's
press conference at the Junge Fam-
ily Champions Center last Friday.
But no one was more excited than
Borseth himself.
"You have no idea how big a thrill
it is to be standing in front of you,"
said Borseth, whose hiring was
announced last Tuesday. "I always
envisioned myself coaching on an
elite level, and Michigan was always
the job I dreamed of. What a won-
derful thrill to be able to come here
and live this dream."
In pursuit of that dream, Bors-
eth left his position as head coach
at Wisconsin-Green Bay last week.
There he compiled a 216-62 record
over nine seasons, capturing a regu-
lar-season conference title every
year and leading his team to seven
NCAA Tournament appearances.
But the Bessemer native will have
his hands full if he hopes to achieve
the same success in Ann Arbor.
Just two Michigan teams have
ever won 20 or more games in the
program's 25-year history, and just
one coach, Sue Guevara, finished
with a career winning percentage
more than .500.
Borseth replaces retired coach
Cheryl Burnett, who finished 35-83
during her four-year stint at Michi-
gan.
Five seasons removed from a
winning record and fresh off a 10-
20 season, Borseth said it may take
time for the Wolverines to show vast
improvements.
"The first year is normally a
learning experience from (the
players') standpoint and from my
standpoint," Borseth said. "The
second year is normally the tough-
est, because if you have any level of
success in that first year, the expec-
tations are far greater in the second
one. But then that third year seems
to roll, and all of a sudden things
begin to happen."
Borseth's recruitment may help
things happen sooner than later.
Prior to hiring Borseth, Athletic
Director Bill Martin said he was
interested in a coach who had strong
recruiting ties in the Midwest. Bors-
eth's resum6 fit the bill, having spent
11 years as Michigan Tech's wom-
en's basketball coach before leaving
for the Wisconsin-Green Bay job in
1998.
Borseth, 52, got extra insurance
by making a hire of his own, add-
ing former Grand Valley State head
coach Dawn Plitzuweit as his asso-

ciate head coach.
Martin said Plitzuweit's exten-
sive knowledge of the area's top high
schoolers left an impression on him.
"I was taken aback by not only
her knowledge of not only our play-
ers (at Michigan), but all the top
recruits in this area," Martin said.
"She could name every one of them
and list their strengths and weak-
nesses. That was a significant factor
in her coming here. She knows so
many of our kids because she had
been recruiting a lot of them, too."
Asked about his coaching style,
Borseth said he intends to play a
consistent lineup each game and
will "generally start five players and
stay with them."
Burnett was known for constant
lineup shufflingand frequentsubsti-
tutions whenplayers made mistakes
on the court.
Borseth said he'd like to run a
motion offense and give his players
freedom in decision-making.
"Really, I let the animals run the
zoo," Borseth said. "I allow the play-
ers to have input. obviously, I'm
responsible for what happens out
there, but you've got to let the play-
ers do what they do."
Borseth met the team for the first
time Thursday and said he is "not at
all" familiar with the currentroster.
And because the semester ends
tomorrow, Borseth won't get a
chance to hold a practice with the
team until later this summer.
Sophomore Carly Benson said
the team can't wait to start working
with Borseth to turn things around.
"It's been one of the hardest
experiences of my whole life," Ben-
son said of the past two seasons. "To
be that down, you're just frustrated
with losing and everything seems
to be going wrong because you can't
win. With coach Borseth, it's just his
mannerisms and everything about
him. He's very easy-going and easy
to talk to. He's going to make basket-
ball fun again."
Borseth said winning games will
help cure those pains that fans and
players have felt the past few sea-
sons.
Asked about the biggest differ-
ence between the job at Wiscon-
sin-Green Bay and his new position,
Borseth noted the level of competi-
tion Michigan plays against on a
consistent basis.
"I really think who you play
against can make you better," he
said. "These players at Michigan
have been playing against the best
playerstheir whole life. Notto knock
the kids at Green Bay, but they were
overachievers ... The potential here
is far greater."

By CHRIS HERRING
Daily Sports Writer
Athletic Director Bill Martin
couldn't be happier with the hir-
ing of the newest women's basket-
ball coach.
Going into the hiring process,
it seemed inconceivable Martin
could convince a coach who's won
a national championship to lead
a program that, in 25 years, has
never won as much as a confer-
ence title.
But that coach isn't Kevin Bors-
eth.
Instead, it's Borseth's new
associate head coach, Dawn Plit-
zuweit.
Plitzuweit - the first and only
coach Borseth has added to his
staff thus far - comes to Ann
Arbor just a year after winning
the Division II National Champi-
onship at Grand Valley State and
two seasons removed from being
named National Coach of the
Year.
So how did Michigan land two
head coaches in the same week?
Luckily, Borseth and Plitzuweit

are close friends - close enough
that Borseth mentioned Plitzu-
weit during his interview and
how she'd make a great sidekick
if Borseth were offered the posi-
tion.
Martin said he never knew get-
ting the 2-for-1 deal was even a
possibility until he met with Bors-
eth to discuss the job with him.
"I'd like to say I was brilliant,"
Martin said, laughing. "But I had
no idea of (Borseth and Plitzu-
weit's) relationship until late in
the process.We did not have Dawn
as a candidate for us, but when
(Borseth) told us what his plans
would be if he was our coach,
we got really excited. It brought
another level of experience."
But it seems as if Borseth's plan
all along had been to include his
former player and assistant coach
on his staff - even if Plitzuweit
didn't know that herself.
Plitzuweit said Borseth told
her he wasn't familiar with play-
ers from the state of Michigan
the first time they talked. Plitzu-
weit responded by letting Borseth
know she could help him with

that, because she is familiar with
the area, to which Borseth replied,
"That's what I was planning on."
Plitzuweit, who played under
Borseth at Michigan Tech (1990-
1995) and later coached with him
at Wisconsin-Green Bay, said
Michigan is "absolutely" the only
school at which she'd take a lesser
position.
"Our family wasn't planning on
moving for really any reason," Plit-
zuweit said. "This just happened
to be something that was a great
situation, both for myself and my
career and a chance to work with
a greatfriend. I want to see him do
very well. I love this guy."
Borseth wasted no time before
talking about Plitzuweit at his
own press conference.
Within the first minute of his
speech - right after introducing
his family to the crowd - Borseth
mentioned how much he respects
Plitzuweit.
"I told (Martin) if you don'thire
me, that's the person you need to
hire," Borseth said. "I'm really
thrilled to have Dawn on the staff
and have the ability to work with

her again."
And after the press conference,
it was hard to tell who was more
excited about having Plitzuweit
on board: Borseth or some of the
Michigan players.
Junior Ta'Shia Walker said the
team already has a nickname for
Plitzuweit.
"We just call her Coach Sweet,"
Walker said. "We met her Thurs-
day and she's great."
Plitzuweit's name has come up
in numerous head coaching dis-
cussions over the past few years.
Before receiving an offer at Mich-
igan, she was rumored to be in the
running for the Central Michigan
vacancy.
Naturally, Plitzuweit hopes to
be among the head coaching ranks
again in the future.
"Ultimately my career goal, if
it works that way, is to get to the
highest level of women's basket-
ball," Plitzuweit said. "I would
love to do that at some point in
time of my career.
"But I aspire to be (at Michi-
gan) for as long as they want me
to be here."

Mixed reactions from recruits

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
After Kevin Borseth accepted
Michigan's women's basketball
head coaching job last week, calling
incoming freshman Veronica Hicks
and her family was one of his top
priorities.
"The day I got the job, I called
(Veronica's family) up to assure
them the program's ingood hands,"
Borseth said.
He also called potenital 2008
recruit Alex Guytonlast Tuesday to
introduce himself.
Guyton had verballed to Michi-
gan, but decided to "start the

recruiting process all over again"
after former Michigan coach Cher-
yl Burnett retired March 6.
Guyton attended the Nike Boo
Williams Spring Invitational for
Girls in Hampton and Newport
News, Va., this weekend. A number
of college coaches, including Bors-
eth, were expected to be in atten-
dance, and Robin Guyton wants her
daughter to write down her top 10
choices when she gets back from
the invitational.
The Guytons haven't had a
chance to really get to know Bors-
eth, especially considering they
had a two-year relationship with
Burnett and her staff. There are

obviously reservations from the
recruit's end.
"It appears to me that Michigan
made the same type of hire that
they had before," Robin said. "He
comes from a mid-major environ-
ment. The teams that they played
against aren't, obviously, the Big
Ten-level teams.
"If he were to offer again, I don't
think we'd make a decision right
away, at least until we have seen
him coach and what he's able to do
with what he has there at Michigan
now."
But that doesn't mean Michigan
is out of the running.
Robin said she doesn't believe

Borseth has seen Alex play yet, and
that her and her daughter are excit-
ed to get back on campus to give the
new Michigan coach that chance.
Robin also said several coaches
- Purdue's Sharon Versyp, Notre
Dame's Muffet McGraw, Iowa's
Lisa Bluder, Miami's Katie Meier,
Kentucky's Mickie DeMoss (who
has since resigned) and Indiana's
Felisha Leggette-Jack - have
called Alex since she re-opened the
recruiting process.
Of those schools, Robin said
Notre Dame was the most impres-
sive because they were close to the
Guyton's home in Bloomington and
she grew up in South Bend.

Players warm up to new coach

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
During the Michigan women's
basketball coaching search, some
of the players found themselves
doing their best James Bond
impression.
When prospective coaches came
to Ann Arbor, they were shown the
Stephen M. Ross Academic Center
and the gym. Players made sure
they were "studying" or "working
out" at just the right times so they
could spy.
In additionto newly hired coach
Kevin Borseth, sophomore for-
ward Carly Benson and junior for-
ward Ta'Shia Walker said they saw
Eastern Michigan's Suzie Mer-

chant, Bowling Green's Curt Mill-
er and Marquette's Terri Mitchell
come through.
"We just wanted to see who we
may be working with every day,"
Benson said. "I think that's fair."
The team finally had a formal
meeting with Borseth after its
postseason banquet last Thursday.
"The first thing I told them was
'You're going to love me,' " Bors-
eth said. "It's funny, I said 'I'm not
goingto make you run three miles.'
So far, Borseth is right. The
Wolverines seemed impressed
with him at the meeting.
"His mannerisms, just every-
thing about him, he's a funny guy,"
Benson said.

Said Walker: "He just had us
rolling out of the seats."
The initial meeting was much
smoother than at Borseth's last job
as Wisconsin-Green Bay's coach.
When Borseth was first hired to.
coach the Phoenix, he was at a golf
outing and was asked to introduce
the players.
He looked over at them and real-
ized he couldn't match their names
and faces well enough to do it.
So he made sure he studied the
players' bios in the airport on his
way to Ann Arbor.
He said that's about all he knew
about the players at the press con-
ference Friday. He hasn't watched
any film of them, but he knows
their statistics, which he considers

important. He said he could rattle
off the team's leader in free throw
and 3-point percentage from last
season (that would be freshman
center Krista Phillips and junior
forward Katie Dierdorf, for the
record)
"I told (sophomore point guard)
Jess Minnfield that she's my favor-
ite right now because she's got
a one-to-one assist-to-turnover
ratio," Borseth said.
The more Borseth has found out
about the Wolverines, the happier
he's become with his new job.
"Everything I've heard about
these gals is they're really hard-
working," Borseth said. "They get
along really well. You know what?
That's all you can really ask for."

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